Students, people in private cars, and even ambulances transporting critically-ill patients have not been spared
The Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB) has expressed its concern and dismay about the authorities’ lack of initiative to tackle the 48-hour transport strike called for by the Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation.
The strike, called for by the body in order to make the government amend certain aspects of the Road Transport Act 2018, has placed the country in a state of chaos.
The vast majority of students slated to attend the admissions test of Chittagong University have not been able to reach the venue, despite the fact that transport workers in support of the strike had stated that exams would not be affected by their protest.
Students, people in private cars, and even ambulances transporting critically-ill patients were not spared the burned engine oil that transport workers splattered onto them after stopping them at road blocks.
The inaction of law enforcement agencies in the face of such anarchy is astonishing and mysterious, especially considering that they are active and efficient at culling public movements against the government. This is especially odd as the transport workers carrying out the strike are creating an atmosphere of anarchy in order to overturn a set of laws instated by the parliament.
Officials of CAB Chittagong are imploring those involved with the strike to end it, and the authorities to take severe action against the paralysis of a nation. They ask that students who could not attend the admission test of Chittagong University be given another chance to sit for it, order be brought to the transport sector, and the suffering of citizens be alleviated.
CAB officials also said the government drafted Road Transport Act 2018 with the students’ demands for safe roads in mind. The Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation chose call a strike to overturn the Act instead of taking the legitimate route of appealing through the High Court.
The officials furthered that while political parties are trying to pander to the people for votes in the next election, no party is willing to make a strong statement against this strike as transport workers and owners are also involved in politics.
CAB authorities also said it is important for stakeholders to be represented at meetings of transport workers and owners, as the interests of the public will otherwise remain ignored.
Moreover, it is important to bring discipline to public transport, and the government will have to take the necessary steps.
Those who signed the statement include: CAB Central Executive Committee Vice President SM Nazer Hossain, CAB Chittagong divisional general secretary Kazi Iqbal Bahar Saberi, CAB Metropolitan President Jasmine Sultana Paru, General Secretary Ajay Mitra Shanku, CAB south district president Alhajj Abdul Mannan, CAB youth group president Chowdhury KNM Riyadh, and others.
On Saturday, transport workers and owners declared a halt to their services to press home their eight-point demand that includes making all offences under the Road Transport Act 2018 act “bailable.”